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What Is an Uneven Pushup?

author image Kay Tang
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.
What Is an Uneven Pushup?
A group of women are doing pushups. Photo Credit Vicheslav/iStock/Getty Images

A pushup is a compound strengthening exercise that works multiple muscle groups at the same time. Your movements also involve two or more joints. By doing compound exercises, you gain the strength you need to complete ordinary tasks, such as picking up groceries or vacuuming. In order to do a pushup, you lift and lower your body off the ground while maintaining a horizontal position. An uneven pushup is an advanced variation of the basic pushup, providing a more rigorous workout.

How to Do an Uneven Pushup

When you do an uneven pushup, you’re fooling the body to go low enough, according to Staff Sergeant Ken Weichert, Army Master Fitness Trainer and member of the Army National Guard. Find an object, such as a phone book, a bench or a rolled-up towel, that is 8 to 12 inches off the ground. Assume the pushup position with one hand on the object and the other hand on the ground. Your hands should be about 12 inches apart. Keep your feet together. Tilt your head up, maintaining a straight focus and tightening your abdominal muscles. Breathe in through your mouth as you lower your body. Breathe out on your way back up. When you reach muscle fatigue, bring your rear end up into the air and bend your knees slightly to rest. Straighten back out to resume the pushups. Switch sides by placing your other hand on the object. By doing uneven pushups, you’re working your pectorals, deltoids and triceps. When you return to doing normal pushups, your form should improve.

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Using a Medicine Ball

Doing alternating pushups with a medicine ball is a variation of the uneven pushup. Place the medicine ball on a firm surface. Put one hand on the ball and the other on the ground. Spread your hands so they are considerably wider than the width of your shoulders. Assume a plank position. Lower your chest to the floor so it is lower than your hand on the ball. Push your body back up to the elevated position. Roll the ball to the other side, placing the other hand on the ball. You can roll the ball between each pushup or between sets of pushups. If you place your feet on a large exercise ball or an unstable surface, you increase the difficulty of the exercise.

Tips for Beginners

If you can’t lift your body weight, do the uneven pushups on your hands and knees. As you grow stronger, you can progress to doing pushups on your hands and feet. Alternatively, use a spotter, who supports your ankles or calves while you do the pushups. Spreading your hands beyond shoulder-length distance makes the exercise more challenging.

Benefits of Pushups

The shoulder is the most movable joint in your body. You use your shoulders to lift, push and pull objects. In comparison to other joints, your shoulders are vulnerable to dislocation or strain. Doing pushups strengthens connective tissue and muscles in your upper body, and helps you to avoid injuries. The uneven pushup allows for better overall "normal" push up performance.

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